UN Development Chief Concludes Official Visit to Tunisia

3 mars 2016

On Wednesday 2 March, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark concluded a two-day official visit to Tunisia. During her visit, she reiterated the United Nations’ commitment to the people and government of Tunisia as they go through their democratic transition and as they face the challenge of economic inclusion, security, and social stability.

“The birthplace of the Arab Spring is a beacon of hope for the entire region,” she said. “We must work together to provide the country’s youth with the means to unlock their potential”. 

During her visit, Ms. Clark met with the President of the Republic, the President of the Assembly of People’s Representatives, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Investment, Development and International Cooperation.   

They discussed the challenge of responding to people’s pressing demands, especially the youth in the marginalized regions, while the country is undergoing a slow economic recovery and multiple security threats.

Ms. Clark praised the efforts to pursue economic reforms and discussed the importance of addressing the mismatch between higher education and the needs of the labour market with authorities. Ms Clark encouraged the inclusion of young people in discussions. She also acknowledged the positive role that Tunisia is playing to help Libya achieve peace, and took note of the concerns about the possible deterioration of the situation in Libya and its impact on security and stability in Tunisia. She welcomed Tunisia’s initiative to organize a consultation with Libya’s neighbouring countries.

Helen Clark also held meetings with the presidents of several Tunisian independent commissions (interim high judicial council, Independent high authority for elections, Independent high authority for audio-visual Communication, national anti-corruption commission and Truth and Dignity commission). The presidents of the independent commissions highlighted the challenges faced by these commissions working in the current institutional environment. Ms. Clark stressed the critical role that these commission play for the achievement of the democratic transition and UNDP’s commitment to their work.

She also held discussions with technical and financial partners to explore new ways of scaling up financial support to Tunisia and to take stock of the progress achieved in the implementation of the ongoing programme of cooperation between the UN agencies operating in the country and the Tunisian government. This US$ 121 million programme aims to support the next phase of the transition over the five-year period (2015-2019) in three key areas including democratic governance, the transition to a sustainable, inclusive and resilient development model and social protection.

On Wednesday 2 March Ms. Clark and Ms Bahous, Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Regional Bureau of Arab States, at UNDP oversaw the signing ceremony of a US$ 1.9 Million funding agreement with the Government of Japan for a new UNDP project aiming to stimulate job creation by young Tunisian entrepreneurs in the southern border governorate of Mednine.

Following her encounter with members of the Tunisian civil society, Helen Clark praised the talent and ambition of women leaders and social entrepreneurs that she met during her stay. She stressed the important role that young men and women play in countering violent extremism and in promoting a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. Ms. Clark also recalled the special role that women have played, especially since the independence, in promoting gender equality with the adoption of the Personal Status Code and most recently through the adoption of the January 2014 Constitution that enshrines the principle of equality and parity.  She also stressed social protection of vulnerable groups, including adolescents and children, which remains a critical part of the United Nations’ work in Tunisia.

At the end of her visit, Helen Clark applauded Tunisia’s remarkable progress on the democratic path and the firm commitment on the part of the Tunisian authorities to the implementation of the sustainable development goals. She welcomed the integration of the SDGs in the national development process, including into the upcoming 5-Year National Development Plan. “This will help to provide a solid and organic framework to address some of the critical problems that affects society”, she said.

She concluded by saying that helping Tunisia deserves the continued support of the international community and will remain a priority for the United Nations.


She was accompanied by Ms. Sima Bahous, Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Regional Bureau of Arab States, at UNDP.


Contact information

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Nadia.khammari@undp.org Communications Analyst 58449135